Sprint has announced that it will not offer the touchscreen-only BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. Instead, the U.S. carrier says that it is looking to offer the BlackBerry Q10, which bears a more traditional BlackBerry form factor with a square touchscreen display just above a QWERTY keyboard in a style similar to the currently available BlackBerry Bold 9930.
Talking about the carrier’s decision on only offering the Q10 model in a statement to Bloomberg, Sprint spokesman Mark Elliott says, “We aren’t saying there’s anything different about our customers. We think our customers will be happy with the qwerty keyboard and touch screen on the Q10.” The carrier did not explain its reasoning.
The downside to Sprint’s decision is that for subscribers of the Now Network who want to experience the BlackBerry 10 OS, they will have to wait longer as the BlackBerry Z10 will be coming to market first, followed by the Q10, which is speculated to arrive sometime in late Spring.
The BlackBerry Z10 will be hitting Sprint’s rivals–Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T–soon. It’s rumored that the device will arrive sometime this month, and BlackBerry had confirmed on Twitter that the device will be headed to the States in the coming weeks.
One possible reason as to why Sprint may be passing on the BlackBerry Z10 is because Sprint has been a late-comer to the iPhone game and has invested heavily in bringing Apple’s smartphone to its network. A touchscreen-only BlackBerry Z10 may cannibalize sales of the iPhone on Sprint’s network while a model with a QWERTY would offer customers choice. Sprint’s rivals, AT&T and Verizon, have enjoyed offering the iPhone for longer than Sprint.
Additionally, BlackBerry had confirmed that there won’t be any entry-level smartphones running the new BlackBerry 10 software this year.